As a part of the 2019 Dream Plan Do program, the Palestinian Community of Western Australia invited Palestinian women to learn and practise traditional tatreez embroidery under the guidance of art therapist Sabrina Odeh. Twelve women participated, each of whom embroidered an individual piece of cloth with traditional designs, unique from the Palestinian regions and villages from which they had been displaced. Their artworks were joined together in a vibrant communal tapestry that represents contemporary Palestinian cultural identity. The textile work was shown at an exhibition launched in front of an audience of 200 attendees on International Women’s Day 2020 at Midland Junction Arts Centre.
The publication Palestinian Threads and Stitches: A Tapestry of Home and Diaspora was also launched on the same day. Showcasing the beautiful tatreez pieces alongside written reflections by the women who contributed to the project, the book communicates that tatreez represents more than a work of art. Tatreez plays a significant role in the ability of Palestinian women to tell their stories and preserve their cultural heritage, no matter where they are in the world.
“The act of stitching our tatreez pieces together for the final artwork thus came to represent both the literal and metaphorical stitching together of our varied life histories as Palestinian women in the diaspora. Each piece is uniquely beautiful, but they don’t fit perfectly together, they are not contained by a defined border, some of the colours clash together, and the edges don’t line up precisely. The result is a rich tapestry of contemporary Palestinian cultural identity.”
Samya Jabbour - Chair, Palestinan Community of WA Inc.